It has been 6 months now since I stopped eating meat and boy, I haven’t regretted it one little bit. This post is not intended to push everyone to cut out animal products. You have your own mind, your own choice. These are just my reasons, and what I’ve discovered on my personal journey.
In this post, I mentioned that I was never a big meat-eater anyway. Say you’re a vegetarian, and no doubt one of the first things you’ll hear is “But bacon – I couldn’t!” Well… I have never liked bacon, ever. I loved chicken, and not much else – sausages and burgers were the only other meaty thing I ate. So you see, cutting out the actual meat wasn’t all that difficult.
Why am I Vegetarian?
My reasons are mainly ethical, and for animal welfare. After watching so many documentaries like Food Inc, I just don’t want to be a part of the meat industry. Honestly, thinking of animals as meat on a plate just makes me feel ill now and I can’t imagine eating it again at this moment in time.
Another good reason for me is the health. I do feel healthier now, and it’s most likely because my diet is varied and full of more nutrients. There are plenty of documentaries about the health side of eating more plant-based, and I really liked Forks Over Knives, Vegucated and Hungry For Change. At KIN 2015, Dr Neal Barnard gave two very interesting talks on Diabetes and Alzheimers relating to a plant-based diet. This video seems to be very similar to what he was saying.
So why not Vegan?
I know the dairy industry is just as bad as the meat industry. I know. I’ve watched the documentaries, I’ve seen it. I’ve been cutting down on my dairy, but it hasn’t been cut out completely.
+ Milk: I’ve never actually liked cows milk – even as a baby. I was an awkward one for sure. The only time I consume milk is when it is in other products (which actually, is more than you’d think!) I tend to use Almond milk when I need it.
+ Eggs: I eat them, and we always buy Free Range eggs. Free Range still isn’t perfect, but it’s better than from caged.
+ Cheese: I do really like cheese. I haven’t actually tried any cheese replacements, but I know this is one that I’d find hard to give up.
I’ve always been a fairly picky eater, and whilst being vegetarian has helped me eat more variety, I still need time. I’m still getting used to being vegetarian and knowing what ingredients are animal based. Some people may say otherwise, but it really is a huge lifestyle change, and it can be difficult. So my reasons for not going vegan are maybe selfish, but I think that keeping myself (physically and mentally!) healthy is more important than just jumping into this diet change without being ready. Steady and slowly is how I will transition into vegan, if I ever make that change. One thing that I’ve noticed online is that particular vegans (no, not all of them) seem to think that if you’re not going the whole way then you’re still ‘no better’ than a meat eater. I personally think that any change, no matter how small, makes a difference.
As for products, I’m not cruelty free at the moment. I’d say I own around 1/4 vegan and 3/4 non-vegan. Once all the non-vegan stuff has been used, I will only replenish will cruelty free and vegan products, because it is definitely something I feel I should do, and want to do.
What have I discovered?
+ There are still plenty of things to eat, and restaurants (well, in my experience) always have something tasty to offer. Granted, you may eat a lot more of the same foods whilst out – veggie/bean burgers, pasta, lasagne, salads – but there’s still always choice. It’s just not something that I should worry about.
+ Food can be so colourful and so full of flavour. I’ve tried so many different things since turning vegetarian, whether that’s new vegetables, new flavours or new combinations. A vegetarian (or a vegan!) diet really is not that restrictive. I don’t feel like I’m ‘missing out’, and there’s also plenty of choices to eat. A meal does not have to revolve around a piece of meat.
+ Meat replacements exist. So they don’t taste like the meat, but they’re similar in the way you chew the food – it kind of feels like eating meat, yet not really. A lot of people don’t really like them, but I do like a fair few. Quorn sausages and the breaded ‘chicken’ pieces are okay and the mince is great (used it from the beginning of university!), and some of the Linda Mcartney bits are nice too. I don’t really eat these a lot, but they’re there if I’m wanting something simple and filling.
+ Sometimes you will slip up. As I touched on above, it’s a big change and I’m still learning what products I can’t eat. Meat isn’t a problem, it’s all the little bits like forgetting about gelatine, animal fats and cochineal, for example. (Oh, and parmesan!)
+ A lot of people just won’t understand. Like I said right at the beginning, I’m not here to persuade everyone to make the swap. You have the right to make your own decision, and if you don’t think vegetarian eating is necessary, that’s up to you. I’m not going to waste my time arguing over what is right or wrong.
I’m really getting into Pinterest lately, and have been pinning lots of foods. Here’s my Vegetarian Pinterest board for a starter!
Hope that gave you guys a little insight into my thoughts and reasons!